Gwen must have been like a
breath of springtime to Weldon. She was a lusty woman with three
children. There was a fun loving spirit about her and it could be this
was what attracted him. The women in his family were different than
this. Their minds were as plodding as their bodies and character. Vee
could calculate down to the day how much food she must store to feed her
family for a year. Gramma Bell often nailed the foolishness of kid or
krem de la krem. Her eagle eye gave anyone the idea she knew what they
Mariah measured out her
whimsical play like someone squeezing the last bit of toothpaste out of
a tube. Her light moments had to deal with having groups of ladies
together for a baby shower. There just wasn’t that much frivolity with
the women in his family. And then, here was Gwen who was as spirited as
any stallion he had ever mounted.
“Fried chicken?” She
grinned wickedly at him and then pierced one of the large pieces with a
fork. Gwen swung the crispiest looking portion just below Weldon’s nose.
“You like fried chicken?” She was teasing him. Gwen’s cooking abilities
were good enough to make her a topic of discussion in the small town.
Her ancestors, the women of Missouri were so skilled with recipes there
is the question of how they obtained the knowledge of chemistry
necessary to create the delicious dishes and from meager supplies, too.
The skills had to be passed down from some other, greater civilization.
“Watch it Lady! Your old
man and I are friends, you know.” Weldon warned her.
“He knows you’re here,
doesn’t he? Asked you to come over and keep me company while he’s on the
road?” She tossed the curls of her dark hair away from her head in a
sassy motion to tell she wasn’t worried about her husband’s approval or
disapproval. Her sparkling, devil, may care, attitude was like water to
a thirsty man.
A person who had dark
skin and was Osage would have had to be blind and deaf not to know the
dangers involved. Like rattlesnakes under rocks in the hills there were
those who laid in wait to fasten their fangs into their pocketbooks. On
the other hand, Weldon might have been using that as a carrot in front
of a donkey for his own advantage, which would not have made him totally
innocent. He had gone all through school being warned about this or that
girl who was a gold digger. No, he wasn’t innocent, but why was he so
careless? Not to say Gwen was thinking about money but the easy way he
bought groceries, treated the kids, and was just generally there for
them was certainly a plus for the hard-working woman who was doing
everything she could to raise her children in a secure environment.
There’s no accounting for
the way of a man and woman. Gwen was strikingly beautiful with a country
kind of charm, fresh and sharp. Being raised in Missouri gave her the
same personality of his ancestors, who were from there, but with a new
day and era that was laced with rebellion. The age of Elvis Presley,
James Dean was upon the whole scene. Children turned out to play in a
new park couldn’t have felt any freer or happier, totally fooled into
not keeping to tried and true behavior.
That old serpent who
fostered rebellion was loose and active. Weldon had already rebelled
from the family standards. What small step he was making into another
man’s home and family apparently wasn’t bothering him. The heavy
insurance on his head, the ramifications possible, none of that was a
warning or a red flag for his conduct. He went about humming Earth
Angel, a popular song of the day, “Earth Angel, will you be mine, I’m
just a fool, a fool in love with you.”
The screen door flopped
noisily on Gwen’s kitchen door and she knew either her husband or Chief
“Whose knocking on my
door?” She laughed in anticipation for which one it might be.
“Your husband is on the
road again,” He sent me over here because he was worried you might need
these. Chief walked in with an armful of groceries.
“Vetals are always
welcome, Chief.” She reached for the sacks and for a moment their eyes
met. If there was fire and ice, certainly, this woman represented that
to Chief. He wanted to reach down to her small stature and pull her away
from the groceries, the kitchen, her children and even her husband.
Instead he turned his eyes away and started unloading and putting away
the staples for her into the cabinets and refrigerator.